This summer Arnolfini
presents The Promise, a new exhibition that explores the potential futures of cities, and the role of architecture, design and the arts within these potentials. Besides the design of physical spaces in the city, the project also engages with the role of the imagination, and how we construct for ourselves an image of the city that we can share and with which we can identify.
The exhibition in Arnolfinis gallery spaces is complemented by installations, performances, sculptures, walks and family events, which will spread throughout Bristol exploring the relationship between the city and its residents, inspiring visitors to rediscover Bristol and view the city from new perspectives.
Inside the galleries there is a display of architecture models and other materials that relate to the history of the city including a detailed, large-scale model of the city centre, and a futuristic plan for a museum in Castle Park. These fascinating items give an overview of the diverse ways in which Bristol has been imagined, but not always realised. The Atlas of Bristol is a series of maps which have been collaboratively produced with local groups, representing how different social groups are simultaneously occupying the space of the city, topics include unbuilt transport schemes, Bristols banking history, carnivals, surveillance cameras, how football divides the city and places of leisure.
Artists Assemble, Jeremiah Day, Jennifer Kabat, Gabriel Lester, Lost Property, Kate Newby and Oscar Tuazon have created artworks for significant locations across Bristol as part of The Promise to encourage discussion about and discovery of our city anew. For The Downs, one of Bristols oldest public parks, Oscar Tuazon has created a new 20 foot high, silver sculpture, created with the support of healthcare provider Simplyhealth that doubles as a working barbeque and large fire pit. Tuazon's sculpture, playing with the tradition of architectural follies in landscape parks, will also host barbeques throughout the summer provided by local restaurants Cowshed and Rice and Things. Visitors will have the opportunity to bring and cook their own food on the sculpture at special events.
In Leigh Woods, art and design collective Assemble will initiate an interactive play project. The project will look at play and how it shapes environments, and will evolve throughout the summer. There will be a series of events for all the family to get involved with, including foraging and play activities. Assemble will also build a den on the site which will form part of a new series of contemporary artworks developed for the National Trust project PARADISE.
Other projects across the city include Jeremiah Days poster project. Sited under and using the history of the M32, he investigates how the motorway divides significant parts of Bristol. A public performance will take place on Saturday 19 July to transform an unloved space in the city into a place of celebration.
Outside Arnolfini there will be an installation of wind harps by Dutch artist Gabriel Lester. The harps are activated by the wind, an aspect of the city that is invisible but shapes our experience and will create unexpected musical encounters by the harbourside.